LeBron James had 17 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists on Christmas Day as the Los Angeles Lakers got a win over the Golden State Warriors 127-101. The only problem, you ask? James, unfortunately, went out of the game in the third quarter. The groin injury he suffered in Oakland looks to be a strain, but the amount of time he misses out on is still unknown at the moment. The Lakers without the King aren’t expected to be very good. They were 35-47 last season without him, while this season they are at 20-14. If James misses even a month, they could fall out of a playoff place and lose track of their rivals. James’ injury angered him, as he says he ‘takes pride in his durability.’ He’s rarely been injured over the years, and many are only naturally going to expect that this sort of thing start to happen more and more as he ages and the toll all those games begin to add up. As for the game itself, it was a strange one. The Warriors’ highest scorer, and the game’s overall high scorer, was Andre Iguodala, who scored 23 points with only three shots missed. The Lakers were paced by Kyle Kuzma, whose 19 points helped carry them to the comfortable win.
The Christmas slate of games also featured the Boston Celtics against the Philadelphia 76ers in a game that was thought to be a possible preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. While it still could happen, the Toronto Raptors have emerged in the East, and thus both teams are left to scramble a bit. Tuesday’s game was no let down, with both teams battling back and forth to establish dominance over the other. The big performers for each team were Kyrie Irving, who pumped in 40 for the Celtics, and Joel Embiid, who had 34 of his own for the Sixers. Irving, though, was the one with the final laugh of the game. The point guard scored six of those 40 in overtime on back-to-back three pointers. On top of that, he played lock down defense to help the Celtics escape Boston with a 121-114 victory that made it two out of two in the series between the teams so far.
In the other Christmas day games, the early game was headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo making his holiday debut against the New York Knicks. The Greek Freak scored 30 points as his Milwaukee Bucks rolled to win 109-95. In Houston, James Harden led the Chris Paul-less Rockets to a 113-109 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder thanks to a 41 point night against his former team. And finally, the Utah Jazz pounded the Portland Trail Blazers 117-96 as Rudy Gobert (18 points and 14 boards) and Donovan Mitchell (19 points) showed out.